Triumph & Tragedy in a Year of Adventure.
I’ve had a fantastic year of travel and adventuring but it has been tinged with sadness recently, hence my lack of activity; to a certain extent.
Our trip to Nepal was the pinnacle of a great year. Trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking, in the greatest mountain range on Earth is pretty hard to beat, and an experience I will treasure forever. The company of my great friends Dave Slater & Wilco Voulon made it all the more special, along with the new friendships forged along the way. I’ve also visited Wilco in The Netherlands a couple of times since our return and I enjoyed Amsterdam and his home town of Zwolle a great deal. Trips to Scotland, The Lake District, and Wales, have made for some great memories; along with regular sorties in to my local Peak District National Park with friends.
|At the summit cairn on Mount Snowdon.|
As many of you will know I’ve also had a lot of fun running “Mud Races” this year; three of the X-Runner events held in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire plus The Men’s Health “Survival of the Fittest” race in Nottingham – all 10km events. These types of race are an absolute load of fun and I’ve really enjoyed taking part in them. I’ll be trying to squeeze a couple of them in to 2013. If anyone is thinking of getting in to running they are a great introduction, not too serious and most can be run as 5km or 10km challenges. Give them a go, you’ll enjoy them.
I’m also fancying a go at some “proper” Fell running too this year and I’m going to enter one or two of the shorter novice events; starting January 6th at an event local to me. The Peats Pit Woods Fell Race is a 7km run around Ambergate Woods; which just happens to be one of my favourite places to ride my Mountain Bike! All good training for the Marathon.
|Enjoying the mud at X-Runner’s Water Wipeout 10km race.|
On a lazy Sunday afternoon in early October I received a phone call that left me reeling. It was my Mum and through floods of tears she told me that my cousin Darren had died.
I was devastated.
He was a very accomplished Fell Runner in what is a very demanding sport. He had been taking part in The Ian Hodgson Fell Relays in The Lake District and had collapsed and died on The Fairfield Horseshoe, between Hart Crag and St Sunday Crag. Fellow runners and marshalls all rallied to his aid, until the arrival of the Air Ambulance, but were unable to revive him. He had suffered a heart attack of the type common amongst very fit athlete’s – A Left Ventricular Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy – and died almost instantly.
As you can imagine it has been a very difficult period for the family and especially for his wife Amanda, son Josh, and his Mum & Dad. We are still grieving the loss and it will take a long time to come to terms with it.
The funeral was attended by Hundreds and hundreds of mourners, so many in fact that most had to view the service on a screen outside. It was humbling to know that so many people thought so highly of him. Many had travelled very long distances just to pay their final respects. Testament to that was the JustGiving page set up specially for donations in lieu of flowers. It stands at in excess of £10,000. An amazing amount of money that will help to fund both The Air Ambulance and Woodhead Mountain Rescue. Both organisations were close to Darren’s heart and he had supported them for a long time.
To see what a truly special person he was please take a look at the links below. The first is a collection of tributes posted on the fellrunner forum in the days after his death.
The second is a link to his very popular blog. He writes candidly, and with affection, about many subjects close to his heart, but particularly on his fell running adventures.
The third is a link to the JustGiving page. Please feel free to contribute if you wish.
He was a very wonderful guy and will be sadly, and fondly, missed forever. Our hearts are broken.
I had asked Darren to accompany us on our Himalaya Quest 2012 to Everest Base Camp and it is to my great sadness that we was unable to come with us at the time.
Darren was a member of The Penine Fellrunners and they have kindly agreed to let me run The Everest Marathon in their club colours as a mark of respect to Daz. It’s going to be very difficult for me, when the time comes, to pull on that vest, but I will try my very best to do him proud and “dig in” as he liked to say.
The picture below is my favourite image of Daz; in full flight during a fell race. I hope that the original owner of the copyright won’t mind me using the image. I can’t imagine a better picture to sum him up.
|Darren Holloway. August 10th 1970 – October 7th 2012.|